This week, after attempting to trudge through The Beguiled (that's the fastest I've DNF'd in a long time!), I moved on to a long TBR-shelf stander: Stolen Songbird. I bought this book on a whim on Amazon forever ago, and for whatever reason I just never picked it up to read. In my self-challenge to empty out my TBR shelf, I decided to give it a go, and boy am I glad I did!
The overall premise is a young woman Cecile is kidnapped and dragged to a hidden/secret Troll city only a few miles from where she grew up. The Trolls hope that bonding her to their prince will break a curse, so they put up with little of her protests.
Overall, the book follows the basic fantasy premise:
1. Girl kidnapped
2. Forced to marry hot/cruel stranger
3. Learns more about new world
4. Learns more about hot/cruel stranger
5. Starts to like new world
6. Starts to like hot and now nice stranger
7. Works to stay in new world with hot stranger
In fact, this is the basic premise of my own book Blossom and the Beast (Blossom = Cecile; Kaide = Tristan; Norsa/Valenta = Elise/Zoe; Olin = Marc), and other fave reads like Amanda Hocking's Switched, Roshani Chokshi's The Star-Touched Queen, and even the infamous A Court of Thorns and Roses.
It's obviously a format that works, but in order to be successful, needs to be strong and unique. Stolen Songbird had a really interesting world and culture, with a complex system of full-blooded trolls, half-bloods, and humans all working toward various goals. The city itself is trapped under a network of rock within a mountain that is maintained by magic, and a single troll has the ability to make it all collapse.
The relationship between Cecile and Tristan was really interesting and dynamic. Cecile had definite focus and was a fun character, and Tristan had some of the best conversation and quips. They fought a lot which brought conflict to their relationship, but they also have some commonalities which helped unite them.
I think I read this book in two days, I really had trouble putting it down! The writing was really decent. There were some clunky lines, but also some really beautiful lines, and on the whole it's some of the better writing out there.
I'll definitely be picking up the rest of this series (after I finish up the rest of my TBR!). Until then, I'm picking up book two in the Remnant Chronicles, The Heart of Betrayal. I didn't *love* the first book, but since I've got the other two, might as well, right?